When we left Penang we were under the impression that it was a direct journey to Phuket, and as it was only our second bus trip we had no reason to think otherwise, but we ended up changing busses twice before we got to Phuket! Which is fine except that the bus just stops and you are told to get out and given your stuff, without warning - they literally don't tell you anything! If we didn't ask we wouldn't even know how long it was going to be until the next bus comes! - and this is the same throughout South East Asia, day or night - you're expecting a 14hr straight journey, but instead you get two or three 4/5hr journeys with about an hour in-between - and the hassle of the borders! (not so bad in the day but well annoying at night! Oh well, that's travelling on a budget!) Anyway, the journey was pretty interesting. We met a couple from Canada who told us not to go tubing in Laos as there is a pink-eye epidemic at the moment from the dirty dirty water! Yuk! And then, on our final step of the journey when we were on a very cramped little bus, I was sat next to a little girl who got sick about six or seven times in 4hrs! Apparently Asian people suffer quite badly with travel sickness!
When we arrived in Phuket town we got a taxi to the hostel we were booked into near Karon beach. We put our bags in and went straight to 'Angus O'Tools', the Irish pub across the road where we got pretty drunk on the very strong local beer, 'Chang'. Apparently, the 6.4% vol. stated on the label is only an average, the bottle you have could be as high as 12% or as low as 2%, all I know is I was pretty merry from two bottles and Ki was steamin after seven!
The next day, and the one after that, we went for breakfast and spent the rest of the day at the beach!! We found a lovely little restaurant that did a nice full English for Ki and croissants and fruit for me! We met a couple of really sound old New Zealand guys who we chatted to over breakfast, one of whom reminded us both loads of my dad - which made me miss him a lot :). The beach was lovely, the waves were the best we'd seen since we'd been away! They were so big and fun! But there was a really strong rip current that was really scary if you went too far out, which was easy to do! Kieran and I had a bit of a scare on the first day and then made sure we played it much more safely! There was also a bit too much pollution, which was annoying! Orange stuff just came out of nowhere! :)
From Phuket we went over to Koh Phi Phi (Koh means island in Thai) and stayed there for four nights, after which we returned to Phuket for a few days. We stayed in the same hostel (for cheaper though this time - yes our haggling has got that good!) and basically did the same stuff. On the night we got back we went out to watch the villa - blues game. However, the only place that was showing it was an 'English' bar (effectively a normal Thai bar ran by a British bulldog type man and covered in St. George flags!) that had more 'ladies of the night' (or day) than drinkers! Both times we were in Phuket we found the girls a little irritating, not that they were at all pushy or anything just that their voices was the sound of Phuket! - 'welcome...massage' is all you hear all day and night! - so when we had to drink in there to watch the most important game of the season so far Kieran was not too impressed! They weren't that bad though, they were just a little loud, which I suppose is just part of the selling technique!
All in all our experience of Phuket wasn't too bad, its not the best place we've been but we didn't think it was as bad as most of the other travellers that we've met, then again, we we're there in low season and it was fairly quiet so watch this space because our opinion may change when we return in a few weeks with the boys! :)